The makers of ChessUp are at a million-dollar advantage after the close of their first crowdfunding campaign.
“It’s what we dreamed about and hoped for,” Jeff Wigh, CEO and one of three co-founders behind Bryght Labs, maker of ChessUp, said of the company’s first Kickstarter campaign and its $1.703 million close late last month.
Becoming the crowdfunding platform’s most-funded chess project of all time has primed the startup to aggressively scale its efforts — with no blocked moves in sight.
“What this means is way more content and features – especially in the app,” Wigh continued, detailing plans to expand the capabilities of its strategy-first, connected chess board.
Click here to learn more about ChessUp and its commitment to advancing STEM exposure.
“For example we are adding a chess lessons library to complement our over-the-board experience. … We can do a lot of awesome things to augment the board,” he said. “We used to think we needed to partner with a chess content site — now we want to become one.”
The company publicly debuted ChessUp and launched its Kickstarter effort in March. Supporters of the campaign are expected to receive the product in November, despite an integrated circuit (IC) shortage, Wigh explained.
“It would have been a much bigger problem if we had a smaller campaign,” he said, noting the company can place a bigger order and pay with cash, making the materials easier to access and obtain.
Click here to pre-order ChessUp on Indiegogo.
The cash injection helps further cement the venture as the real deal for Wigh and his team, giving them a sizable customer base and allowing them to refine the product at a much earlier stage, he explained.
“The ChessUp board is our advantage over web [and mobile app] chess platforms,” he said. “The lesson content was formerly our weak spot — but now it will be our strength. We can [become] a complete chess platform and it is a big, big opportunity.”
And to seize such opportunities, the company will need to expand its team sooner than it expected, Wigh added.
“I think the biggest risk for a hardware product is getting the right talent in house to finish the product,” he said of the startup’s current needs, which include customer support, digital marketing, and sales roles. Hardware-focused roles in mobile app development and UI/UX design are also available.
Interested in a role or summer internship with Bryght Labs? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With the big campaign, people who are considering joining our team are much more comfortable,” Wigh continued. “We have the money and the demand risks covered, which in turn covers the risk for the talent we want to attract.”